When content becomes a virus, the viral scientists ultimately win


The week or so between Christmas and New Year’s is always a slow period, even on social networks like Twitter, but one article made my feed light up despite the slowdown, at least for the media folks that I follow: namely, a piece in the New Yorker about Emerson Spartz, a 27-year-old entrepreneur the magazine refers to as the “King of Clickbait.” For most of my Twitter stream, the reaction to this piece was a combination of horror, disgust and resignation.

As depressing as the profile might be for those interested in “serious” journalism, however, I think it should be mandatory reading in all newsrooms, both traditional and digital. You may not like his work, but Spartz is learning everything he can about how content works online — which is more than I can say for plenty of other outlets. And the less we all know about that subject, the…

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